BritMums-Ecover Laundry Challenge

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have washing coming out of your ears.  Genuinely, I can’t work out, how the children go through so many items of clothing-especially considering my son wears a school uniform five days a week!

So when BritMums challenged us to put Ecover’s New Non Bio Laundry Detergent to the test, I thought, hey-whatever makes my life easier! Continue reading “BritMums-Ecover Laundry Challenge”

Cleaning Hacks for Busy Mums!

Let’s face it, we all want an easier life, especially when it comes to the dreaded housework!

 

With two kids running around constantly, I do resent having to clean for hours, for them only to ruin it with god knows what from god knows where.  I’d feel a lot happier if it hadn’t taken me as long, and if I had some awesome cleaning hacks to make life easier!

My Mother-In-Law once told me, a friend of hers used to give herself 10 minutes per hour, to get as much as she could done off her list-that way she wasn’t spending hours doing the same room.  This does not work for me!

I asked some of my lovely blogger friends, for their top tips/hacks! Continue reading “Cleaning Hacks for Busy Mums!”

Parenting, Blogging, Housework-Top Tips on Juggling Jobs

 

So often I see people mentioning how overwhelmed they’re feeling with all they have to do.  Parenting is a full time job as it is, without adding in the mountains of washing and housework, and for my fellow bloggers and I, the writing time needed to get posts out on time, especially in the holidays when the children are at home all the time!

Personally, I’ve started working every evening until late, as this is the only time I seem to get quiet time, and then I have the days free to do things around the house and spend time with the little ones.

However, this still doesn’t stop me finding it all a bit much sometimes, and so, I asked some of my lovely blogger friends to help me out with some tips on juggling it all! Continue reading “Parenting, Blogging, Housework-Top Tips on Juggling Jobs”

Down With Gender Roles-It’s 2017 For Goodness Sake!

 

The other night I had a conversation with my friend-she was telling me how a neighbour from her building came and kindly offered the use of her washing line, now that the weather is better, so my friend didn’t have to use her tumble dryer as much.

Unfortunately during the conversation with my friends husband, she inadvertently asked him to tell his wife that when she did her washing to feel free to use it.

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Being an elderly lady, we did suggest that in the era she is from, it would be the female that did the washing and therefore it just happened to be how she worded it.

As the conversation continued however, I explained how, in the last month I’ve really struggled to juggle all my “jobs”.

I’m not ashamed to say I haven’t worked since before I had Kye.
What with having him, then losing our three babies, then falling pregnant with Olivia – there just wasn’t a time that felt appropriate for me to work.

Now however, as you know from reading my blogs-I’m a little busier than I once was.
I write daily-I review frequently for a variety of companies and events.
On top of all of that, I’m primarily a Stay at Home Mum and Wife, which means school and nursery runs, housework, shopping, bill paying, school event attending, and outside of all of that, family events-Birthdays etc to attend and remember.
I’m not ashamed to say, I have been struggling of late.

To do all of the above-and having got it all down to my idea of a fine art-I decide to go and get me a website-a blog, and to make myself ridiculously busy, working for free to build my audience up.

I LOVE my jobs. I make no qualms about any of it-those who know me, know I’m a happy Mummy to my two children, I’m married to my best friend, and I really love writing.

The conversation myself and my friend were having was really about how we’re supposed to juggle all of these things-even when we go and get ourselves a job.
Why are we made to juggle and spread ourselves even more thinly between our jobs, but it doesn’t change for the partner/dad/husband?
Why don’t the jobs get shared equally?
Why doesn’t the overwhelming struggle they see us go through, make them want to help?!

And the only conclusion I can get from it all-like the little old lady from my friends building, is that 2017 hasn’t actually moved as far forward as we’d have liked it to.

Generations are still relying on the female in the family to juggle jobs and home life, while the male is still seen as the bread winner.
(I’d just like to add here-my husband does help to an extent and I know plenty of families where the male does his fair share-and sometimes more. My point is that a large percentage of families aren’t like that.)



It makes me wonder, will I ever see the change I think is needed, in my lifetime?

I hope so-and if not in my lifetime, I pray it happens in my daughters.

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Those 10pm Moments…..

One of my most favourite things to do-in days filled with school runs, housework, dinners, baths, keeping the kids alive, etc-happens at 10pm.

At 10pm, the husband and I drag our ridiculously tired selves to bed.  Now, as much as I love all that goes with bedtime, (the silence being one of the major loves of my evenings), it’s not quite up there with something else I do every night.

10pm

At 10pm, I head up to the top of the house to pay a visit to my biggest kidlet.
I un-ruffle the duvet from under and around his sleeping body, locate his favourite cuddly elephant, check he’s not too hot or cold and tuck him back in.
I then always stroke his face, smooth down his unruly bed hair, kiss his forehead, and tell him “Mummy loves you”.  Sometimes he murmurs a reply of “love you” back- other times he doesn’t stir, but I always say it anyway.

 

10pm
Shortly after, I go back down to the littlest kidlet’s room, where things are sometimes a little different.
80% of the time, she will tend to be somewhere else in her bed, in comparison to where I originally tucked her in a few hours ago.
Instead of angelically laying on her pillow, the right way up, she tends to be upside down, back to front, laying on top of the covers.
Because she’s not in the right place, more often than not when I go to move her, she stirs.  And, sometimes, following all of this, she also needs a cuddle.

Sleepy cuddles are definitely my absolute favourite type of cuddles.

All squishy and warm, their sleepy bodies mould into yours, and sometimes you hold them for so long (accidentally of course), that they fall back to sleep.
Just for a second, you’re transported back to when they were babies, and you rocked them to sleep when they were teething, poorly or generally unsettled.

Once resettled, the little lady’s cuddly is also located, her covers are tucked back in, her hair is smoothed and her cheek Is stroked.
A little more alert than her brother, we sometimes have sleepy conversations that more often than not, go exactly like this.

“Mummy loves you.”

“Olivia loves you.”

“Mummy loves you more.”

“Olivia loves you most.”

We leave it there with her thinking she’s won that battle of love declaration,  but obviously I know better.
These times, every night, when it’s just me and them-no noise, no worries and nothing to busy us, are so precious to me.

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I sometimes find my mind attempts to lull me into being sad-into missing the baby cuddles, or worrying about the day I won’t get to do these sleepy little rituals with them.

Instead, I try and look forward to all the cuddles and sleepy conversations still to come.  The endless possibilities of hair smoothing, cheek stroking, and murmured “I love you’s”.

Then, I feel like the luckiest mummy on the planet-and look forward to 10pm the next night, once again.

 

Miscarriage ~ My Truth


I was a mummy already-to a beautiful baby boy when our lives changed.  He was unplanned, just as our second baby was.

Yet, 2 little lines on a pregnancy test, didn’t scare us the second time around.  We knew we wanted two babies, and as our first little bundle was so amazing, we knew we could have another.
I was so excited!  I booked in to see the midwife to get my dates all sorted out, and soon after, I saw her and she confirmed our new little one was due in June!
We told our parents, and our close friends and family, and I began rooting through baby magazines, taking vitamins, and planning double pushchairs and where the new baby would sleep.
My husband, the excited Daddy to be, got a loan, to pay off all our debts and to get us out of the horrid flat we lived in, so we could start a new life, with our complete family.
A month later, when the sickness was just starting, and we were all into the full swing of how more amazing our little family was about to become, something changed everything we knew and the people we were.
I was collecting up socks for the washing basket, and as I lifted the basket to take it through to the machine, I felt a strange little sensation in my tummy.  To this day, I swear I could hear this “pop” sound.
I put everything down, and calmly went to the toilet, almost knowing something wasn’t right.
There, on the tissue, was enough to stop me in my tracks.  Blood.
I walked out of the bathroom and stood outside was my little man, asking me for juice.  I got his juice, sat him on the sofa, and put his favourite programme on, while I shook to my very core, and mentally located my phone.
I called my husband, who never answers his phone at work, but who, happened to be on a break.  “I’m bleeding love, you need to come home now”.
I then called my mother in law.  “I’m bleeding, I need to go to the hospital”.  I asked her to watch our son, and she came straight away.
I sat on the end of my bed, cradling my little bloated tummy in my arms, and pleaded with our baby to stay.  “Please don’t leave me, please don’t leave me“, I repeated over and over.
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The journey to the hospital was filled with my nerves, and my husbands optimism that we’d got it all wrong.  He kept telling me some women bleed during pregnancy, but I knew the truth.
I had a scan, a blood test, and was told there was no heartbeat or baby anymore.  They said that I could’ve got my dates wrong, and to come back in 6 days to check again, but I knew the truth.
When we got home, my husband told his mother what they’d said at the hospital, and I just couldn’t take it.  “I know the truth!”
Within days, I bled more, and the pains worsened.  We celebrated Halloween with our boy, and I just got on with it.  I ignored the pain, drugged myself up with painkillers, and acted normal.
4 days later, I physically lost our baby, and mentally, the floodgates opened.
We went back to the hospital and they confirmed what I’d known all along.  Our baby was gone.
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We were offered no form of help, to aid us in dealing with our grief, or to explain our next steps.  We were sent on our way to continue our lives.
In the months that followed we went back to normal-the only difference being, I was now desperate for a baby.  Instead of grieving for our precious little life we’d lost I put my efforts into buying ovulation tests, tracking my cycle, and trying to get pregnant again.
Months and months went by, and when we didn’t have any luck, I actually convinced myself that the miscarriage had damaged me somehow.  Then, 10 months after we lost our baby, I got those two important lines on a pregnancy test once again.
Expecting to be elated by this, excited perhaps, grateful we’d been given another chance, I instead felt nothing.
We told my dad, we told my husbands parents. Instead of it being news I wanted excitement and happiness from, I told people in case I needed support, if the same happened again.
This time I didn’t go to a midwife straight away, I allowed myself to work out my dates, because I needed to make sure I was aware in case we lost another.
A few days later, that’s exactly what happened.
There was no hospital trip this time.  There was just more pain, more blood, more heartache.
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As soon as it was all over, we went back to trying, and within a month fell again, and lost again, and I felt….nothing.
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“I’m done”, I thought, deciding I would put my time into bringing up my son, and not bother trying ever again, because there was no point!
People were often sympathetic, some, not so much.
“Maybe they were all girls, and you can’t carry girls”.
“You’re trying too hard”.
“Think positively instead of assuming the worst will happen”.
It was, after I’d had the third miscarriage confirmed, I was offered tests to see the cause of the miscarriages, which medically now had a name-‘recurrent miscarriages’.
I had a blood clotting test which came back fine and the tests were set to continue to see if they could find a reason why this kept happening to me.
On Christmas Day night, that same year, after a large amount of alcohol, baby number 5 was conceived.
I found out a week before our sons 3rd Birthday in February 2013, and promptly began throwing up pretty much all day every day.
I had no attachment to this new pregnancy.  I lived each day believing this one would leave us too.
We were referred to the Early Pregnancy Unit, where we had scans at 6, 7, 8 and 11 weeks, and all progressed normally.  We saw its little heart beating, but all I kept thinking was “this is going to be so much harder to lose, now we’ve seen its heartbeat”.
Our 12 week scan date came around, a milestone we hadn’t made with the three miscarriages.  And there, in the middle of the screen, was this little blob,  still with a heartbeat.
My husband squeezed my hand, clearly optimistic again, but I still couldn’t bring myself to be excited, to be happy, to feel anything.
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The pregnancy progressed.  I got fat.  The sickness continued way past 4 months.  Our 20 week scan came around, and I was put under consultant care because of my history.
The day we found out we were having a little girl, I thought my head might explode.  For so long I’d battled with the worry I couldn’t carry girls, and wouldn’t have another baby.
We went to Primark to buy something for our daughter, and I walked around in a complete daze for around 20 minutes, before announcing to my husband, “I need to go home”.
I had scans constantly through the pregnancy, and as I got bigger, felt her kicking, and in one pretty amazing scan, saw her beautiful face, I started to allow myself to feel like I was going to have a baby!
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After a beautiful labour, on the 27th of September 2013, our baby girl was born!!!!!!
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Fast forward 3 years and I am a content mummy to a wonderful 6 year old son, and 2 year old daughter.
They’re happy, healthy, and make me and their daddy proud beyond words, day in, day out.
Fast forward 3 years however, and I’m not the person I once was.
I have been diagnosed with PTSD, which I was told was down to the trauma caused by each miscarriage, and the lack of follow up care given from professionals.
I have severe anxiety disorder.  Brought on from being so unbelievably paranoid and anxious during every pregnancy, including our daughters, which has spilled over into my life since them, also bringing with it, social anxiety and panic attacks.
I also have mild depression currently.  I say currently because, those who have depression will understand, the moods that come with it, fluctuate day to day.  I have been told I never grieved for those babies we lost, instead I got on with making the next one, fuelled by that rather than stopping to be sad for the children we lost.
There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t wonder, what they’d have looked like, what they would’ve achieved, who they’d be as they grew.
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The lasting effects and my continual mental health issues, surrounding the recurrent miscarriages, could’ve been prevented, had I received proper after care and help following the losses.
More needs to be done to help women in these situations, more information is needed, and tests should be carried out quicker and sooner.
I want those women, who share in my experiences, who feel let down, who need help right now, who see similarities in my story, to know, you’re not alone, you’re never alone – please find someone to speak to, and get help for what you’re going through.
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The A-Z of Parenting

These 26 words, are pretty much all you need to grow tiny humans and keep yourself from rocking in a corner sane.  Memorise them, use them as your mantra, and you will be fine!

thFYJHRHSW.jpgAppetite.  Kids have one.  All of the time.  They’ll eat you out of house and home if you let them.  You must keep them entertained and hydrated or they’ll mistake thirst and boredom for hunger!
bBooze.  It’s needed, not all the time, but always in the house “just in case”.  Being everything to everyone can get stressful sometimes!
th8V3Z2NMZ Chocolate.  Also needed, ALL the time, ALWAYS in the house, sometimes if ‘E’ is happening, chocolate can work instead of meals.
thB6SL29OE Dirt.  For some reason, kids are somehow, always dirty!  I don’t know where they get it, or how, but there’s always some somewhere!!!!
thZA3SB8R1 Eating. It’s done fast, or not at all.  You need to make sure you’re available for helping others eat, serving drinks, extra sauces, clearing up mess, and basically not having time to eat your own-and if you do-its cold!
th Fun.  Whether you wake up feeling like crap, absolutely shattered, with tons to do  throughout the day, you MUST still be fun!  Kids seem to get bored around about 10 minutes after waking up, and throughout the day when they’re not eating or tantruming. You must entertain constantly if you’re going to get through a day!
thBD6W568I Growing.  You go out, spend an entire months worth of spare money on the kids clothes and shoes, and within that next month, they grow out of most of it.  The worrying thing is, you don’t notice it day to day, but it just happens!
thIVI5MVTW Housework.  Just don’t even go there with this one.  Its constant, you get little/no help and its just never tidy or clean enough unless you’re home alone for a substantial amount of time.  As you clean up, they go around after you, undoing all your hard work.
thCZ5OUDUL Illness.  There’s tons of it, and it comes in waves, taking down each member of your family one by one, until there’s a big fat red cross on your door and you’ve quarantined everyone to their bedrooms, with a bin each for vomit, and some kind of noise they need to make for when they need refreshments or cuddles.
th2LPAMEBW Judgement.  You’re going to be judged.  No matter what you do, when you do it, how you do it, and why you do it, you’ll always be judged by someone somewhere.  Don’t let this phase you!  You know what is right for your kids.  Go with that instead of listening to others.
thLC2GTCAQ Know-it-all.  You must know everything-every answer to every question asked, whether its absolute nonsense or not.  Most of those answers you give, will end up being responded with “why?” by the child in question, and you’ll need to give an adequate answer to that too!
thK80KI12Z Laughter.  This is a must.  Its pretty basic, but its the best noise, the best entertainment and it keeps you battling through the day!
thKL48NCTZ  Mummy.  This is now your name.  You will hear it from the moment the little ones wake, to the moment they go to bed-and maybe even during the night when they should be sleeping!
th7CN1WOS1  Nights out.  These are a thing of the past.  Its hard enough finding the spare money to get out of the house, let alone to find a sitter that you trust with your precious little ones, or who doesn’t cost the earth.
thO9YCN79J Octopus.  You have to be one.  You need to find a way to grow around 6 more arms, so you can carry out all requests without taking too long and ending up with tantrums!
thXIYKVXDM Pets.  The little darlings decide at some point in their tiny lives, that they’re going to need some kind of pet.  You may be like me, and unable to have cats/dogs etc in your rented home, but that doesn’t stop them.  You could end up with a fish, or a hamster, or a tortoise!  They sound like fun dont they? NO! They are as much mess/effort/money/time as the kids-maybe even more.  For as long as you can, put them off!
th3WPZ9O03 Quickness.  Another must, you must always be quick.  If you don’t get to the kitchen for juice or a snack, within roughly 90 seconds after being asked, all hell is going to break loose!  Be quick.  All the time.
thTQWYS370 Right.  Kids are always right, even when they’re wrong.  If you remember that you’ll have a much easier life!
thAXBALVQP School Runs.  Think back to walking yourself to school, how much effort it was to get there, how reluctant you sometimes were, and the playground issues you’d have.  Now add in, having to take someone else there, who’s sometimes just as reluctant, and this time, you have to deal with playground issues from fellow school mums instead!
thHPLU0ZDVToilet training.  One of the biggest learning curves you’ll go through as a parent.  Patience, patience, patience.  That is my only advice on this one!
thCFTHZS0F Unintelligent.  If you thought you were clever before you had kids, you wont think that anymore.  Well, unless you count your vast knowledge of nursery rhymes, kids tv theme tunes and the names of ALL the characters they watch!  In that case-you’re a genius!
th1CPHOY9J Vegetables.  They are the devils food.  According to the little ones that is!  They wont eat them, and if they do, their faces will contort, they will moan and whine and sometimes even force a gag out for maximum effect!
th14ZK3WER Washing.  It never ends.  Thats about it.  IT just doesn’t end.
thBZXW1EQR X-ray.  This one might seem an odd one, but think of how many times, prior to having children, you spent in the hospital, then double it and double it again!  There will be lots of lovely trips to the paeds a&e department, which can sometimes end up in xray!  Doesn’t that sound fun!
thTQDG2IH4 Yes!  This is what they want to hear, always.  You must never say no, because that word is also known as the “tantrum button”.  That button should be avoided at all times.
thMQCKIMFW Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  This is how tired you are.  All the time.  Not just physically, but mentally too.  All the time.

Sometimes, we could use alternative words for the “Parenting Alphabet”.

P is for Pride.  How proud they make us day in, day out, for just the smallest things sometimes-but things that seem the biggest, best things to you.
F is for Family.  These little people are your flesh and blood, your little family you grew and nurtured into the tiny humans they are today.  It doesn’t get better than that!
E is for Emotions.  The emotions you feel when with them, or without them, are like nothing you’ve experienced before.  The sheer tug on your heart when you miss them, or the swell of love you get when they kiss and cuddle you, or tell you that they love you is more than you need to get through each day.
U is for Unconditional.  You’ll never feel the sort of unconditional love you feel for your children, for anyone else.  They are your everything and nothing else compares.
For the 26 challenging words above, there’s millions of others that can be used to describe your children, that are full of love, and that are the best to remember when battling the ’26’.
Enjoy all of it-before they grow up and you miss every single bit.
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Winning at life…..?

Do you ever feel like you’ve woken up feeling in control of everything?  You know what you’re doing, where you’re doing it, how you’re doing it and how you expect it to go. 

That was me this morning. I made a list, (I’m known for a list or two).


I had the entire house to clean, two loads of washing to do (which included bedding), a stinky hamster to clean out, and two children to keep alive feed, water and stop from battering each other. 
The first two hours not only went rather fast, leaving me feeling like I was more than likely still going to be doing the downstairs come 8pm, but also, made me realise what my body (yes my body) would rather have been doing. Sitting. Relaxing. Watching films with the kids. Sunbathing in the garden while they played etc.  Anything but this. 

At 12 i managed to remember to feed the little horrors darlings, and even managed to stand and eat with one hand,while cleaning the worktops with the other, while attempting not to cry at the new mess I’d created. 

Once that was done and I’d wasted more time rotating the ridiculous amount of washing I’d done,  and my body ached beyond measure, I started to feel a little overwhelmed. 

It took a large amount of pep talking myself (“you can do this/the house needs to be clean/you have no other day to do it this week so it HAS to be done now”) to even make it upstairs to continue, and within half an hour, I realised (while my hand was down the toilet-gloved, don’t panic) that the little ones were a tad too quiet. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love quiet. The kind that comes with the husband being home and taking the kids out, so the quiet is from an empty house. NO good ever came from kids being quiet. 

                                             
I rushed back down to find the eldest on his tablet-hurrah!  Breathing a sigh of relief because I thought I’d found the reason for the silence, I suddenly remembered I have two children and quickly located my youngest child. 

KILL. ME. NOW

Let’s just say in my head, I’d lost the plot. In there, I was swearing, screaming, shouting, crying, rocking in a corner, smashing my head against the wall (you get the jist). On the outside though, I was one cool mummy. 

“Darling, mummy has already tidied this room-would you mind not getting ALL your puzzles out at once?”

After establishing she hadn’t got them ALL out, because there were still two in the toy box (shes so helpful and forthcoming with information isn’t she), I asked her to tidy them up. It only took three requests and a threat of me hoovering them up but it worked! (That’s a win for me yeah?)

Towards the end of the day, tiredness had set in, for all of us.  I ached, the kids had turned into monkeys, and i still had to steam the floors. 

I got the kitchen cleaner out of the cupboard and as I did, 8 bottles of various cleaners fell out across the already swept floor. That’s fine, when they’re all closed bottles of cleaner. Shall i tell you when it’s not fine? 

When amongst the 8 bottles of cleaner, is an opened bag of dishwasher salt. On its side. Open side down. 

We all waved goodbye to “cool, calm and collected mummy”. She left quite quickly and in her wake, left behind, “LOST THE PLOT MUMMY”. 

I’m unsure if it’s only me that’s screamed obscenities at a cupboard? I’ll assume for now that it is. It didn’t help. The salt didn’t miraculously disappear when i yelled, banshee style. It didn’t pick the 8 bottles up, and it didn’t close the cupboard. It did however make me feel a tad better and it was clearly all I needed to shake off the urge to give up, and I managed to find the last bit of energy I needed to steam the floor. 

I didn’t pick the salt up. I just steamed over it. I wasn’t being beaten by salt. And now that patch of floor is even shinier than the rest!

I definitely won.